Mejo’s studio walls are covered in paintings of cowboys and their horses, prize cattle, and agave cactus. A painting of a ranch spills down a cliff side in blocks of color. A graduate of Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University in Indiana, Mejo has also worked as a graphic designer, illustrator, costume manager for traveling Broadway shows, and a courtroom sketch artist. In 2011 she covered of the nationally covered trial of polygamist Warren Jeffs.“There was always that little inner voice that said, ‘Paint. Run away and paint,’” Okon said. “I ran away a couple of times — I’ve lived in Alaska, South Carolina, Michigan, Texas, New York City and New Mexico. Now I am finally painting.” Since settling in New Mexico, she has found endless inspiration in cowboys, ranches and the landscape but then again, she has always loved horses and animals. “I grew up when cowboys were popular on television. I have worn cowboys boots since I was three. A little pair of cowboy boots and my old toy cap gun sit right next to my easel.” When it comes to style of work, Okon is a self-described colorist. “I really like to capture my images when the sun begins to set. I am drawn to the extreme shadows, colors and contrasts.” Okon considers her work to follow a contemporary western theme. She is an Master Signature Member of Women Artists of the West (WAOW), Associate with Distinction in American Women Artists (AWA) an Associate Member of Oil Painters of America (OPA), American Plains Artists (APA), and National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS). Her work has also been published in Society of Illustrators: Illustrators 18 and 200 Years of American Illustration. ARTIST STATEMENT: This is the west I know: Cloudless skies. Intense sun. Extraordinary heat. The home of cowboys, horses and cows. I am drawn to the details of today’s working cowboy and the livestock they manage. I travel to local ranches and small rodeos for inspiration. Bold graphic colors speak to me in depicting the modern cowboys and their everyday lives.