Utilizing a plumbline, mirror, and simple optical and geometric principles (no math involved!), a person sculpting using Sight size methods has little need for compasses and caliper measurements, ruler measurements, or compositional canons (like drawing a center line down the torso, dividing the face into three equal parts to locate features, and other non-visual, constructionist methods). The result in being trained in Sight size is that an artist has an improved visual memory, an instinct towards seeing the 'big look' of a composition, and most importantly, it leads to a personal, non-formulaic style in art, as the result of sight size is sculpture which stands as a record of the artist's visual perception of the world, filtered through the artist's consciousness. Sight size is sculpting what you see, tempered by how you feel about what you see. Once the method is mastered, you can effectively model in clay a copy of anything you see in nature around you.
Jason Arkles is an American sculptor, art historian, podcaster and author living in Florence, Italy. Beginning his training as a sculptor in 1996 at the Charles H. Cecil Studio in Florence, Arkles soon began to teach in the sculpture department there, notably heading up the experimental sculpture program initiated by Cecil, which sought to revive a sculptural method based on optical and geometric processes ( in painting, known as Sight-Size), once used in the ateliers of Francois Rude and other sculptors in 19th century Paris, but since the 20th Century known only as a technique for painters and draughtsmen.
In 2006 Arkles published the fruits of this experimental sculptural technique under the title Sculpting From Life – A Studio Manual of The Sight Sized Method. As of 2018, he is working with a publishing house in the UK on producing a greatly expanded and improved second edition. Continuing his research into historical techniques, in 2013 Arkles published a translation into English, with extensive commentary, of Leon Battista Alberti's Della Statua, regarded as the earliest figurative sculpture manual in Europe, and is the first published English translation in almost fifty years. Notably, Arkles' is the first English translation to approach the text not as merely a historical document, but as it was originally intended by its author – to be read, understood, and utilised by practitioners of the craft of sculpture. He us currently writing a survey of optical approaches and techniques in Western European sculpture which unites and contextualses contemporary and historical practice.
As a practicing sculptor, Arkles operates a studio in Florence and works on private commissions, specialising in portraiture in marble, but also producing figures and monuments in various media. His work is largely driven by a sense of narrative and psychological symbol, and this has sometimes led Arkles to foray into ecclesiastical work. Arkles is drawn both to sacred art and to portraiture for the same reason – narrative. To this end, in 2010 Arkles received a Master's degree in Sacred Art and Architecture from Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, a degree program instituted by the Vatican in 2007 and under Pontifical authority.