Saturday, November 14, 2009

AMA Divers

Last year I was asked to come up with a character for a local restaurant, called AMA AMA. The name of the restaurant is based on the traditional Japanese Ama divers that specialized in free- diving for oysters, shellfish, lobsters, sea urchins, and pearl diving. They would traditionally only wear a loincloth, without scuba gear or air tanks. (thank you wikipedia) The style of the restaurant was very retro. Late 50's early 60's. The owners wanted the character to reflect that look, as well.

The above image was the pose they liked. I scanned one of their business cards, added some texture behind the logo, and put it all behind the character to see if it all had the same vibe.

I remember one issue was using a nude character for a family restaurant. They asked to have her hold an oyster with a pearl over one breast, leaving the other one in profile. Is she less nude without an areola? I don't know. It was an interesting thing that came up that I didn't even think about. I'm just glad they wanted to stick with the traditional nude diver instead of asking for a top on her.

I had never heard of ama divers. It was pretty interesting reading up on them. These ladies had to be pretty hard core to be diving those deep waters. Here are some links with more info on ama divers, if you're intersted. Link01- Link02 There are also some amazing photos from photographer, Iwase Yoshiyki, here.


=shane white= said...



Augie Pagan said...

Thanks, man. If I win the lotto any time soon, look for Ama Divers, the animated short. Coming to a theater near you.

Mr. Popular said...

I'm always impressed with the stylish look of your work.

Augie Pagan said...

Thanks. I feel fortunate that I get a variety of work that allows me to try different styles/techniques. Keeps things interesting.

-K said...

Love it. Beautiful!

My daughter just saw Ama Divers on an episode of Magnum PI and asked me if we could find out more about "those cool ladies." She also thinks your Ama character is great.

Augie Pagan said...


Wow.I missed that Magnum episode. Very cool. There's a book that you might be able to find at the library or used book stores called, "The Island of the Fisherwomen", by Fosco Maraini. He was an Italian author/photographer that documented the Ama women on the island of Hekura. Thanks for dropping a line.

jert said...

WOW Augie, I LOVE IT!!!!!!! great piece of work

Augie Pagan said...

Thanks for checking out the blog Jolly. You're right. I did find this link that I put in the blog post that portrays a more modern diver.

There is also this link in my post that portrays a more traditional diver.

In my research I was introduced to Italian photographer Fosco Mariani that found an untouched island in Japan named Hekura (early 50's I think?) where he documented a lot of the more tradidiotnal AMA divers that had not yet become touristy.

There is also an old book on his travels to that island called "The Island of the Fisherwoman" that has some great photos of the AMA women in their day to day lives, that I based a lot of the look on.