In an old blacksmith’s forge on East 26th Street, there is a subterranean laser laboratory. It’s here that Jason Arthur Sapan, also known as Doctor Laser, makes holograms of everything imaginable at Holographic Studios. Jason describes his underground lab as being akin to Doctor Brown’s laboratory in Back to the Future (sans time travel, of course). A hologram, “is a three-dimensional image that is created using laser light,” he explains. “We record the surface of an object the way that a piece of Play-Doh pressed up against an object takes an impression of its shape,” creating something that’s “lifelike and can appear to float in front or behind the film.”
Jason first became interested in holography in the late 1960s, and has been practicing the medium full time since founding Holographic Studios over forty years ago. He also teaches at NYU Tisch’s ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program), where he works with graduate students. He’s created holograms of politicians ranging from President Bill Clinton to Mayor Ed Koch and celebrities such as Billy Idol and Andy Warhol. The studio possesses the world’s oldest gallery of holography, which attracts out-of-town visitors, locals, and even youngsters through classes and an internship program.
6sqft recently spoke with Jason to find out about the inspiration for his career in holography and how much joy it brings him to share this medium with the world.