Michael Miller

Name: Michael Miller
Job: Visual Artist
Industry: Art
Class of: 1985
House: Law

What do you do?

I’m a visual artist, engaged principally in abstract painting and photography represented by galleries in Hong Kong, New York and Seoul. 

How did you get to where you are today?

I took a rather circuitous route. Having left the High School set on studying Geology, instead I ended up with a PhD in Contemporary History from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Subsequently, I took a position as a researcher and writer with UNICEF, focusing on human rights issues.  

Whilst in Florence, I attended evening classes at the Leon Battista Alberti High School for Fine Arts. I continued my art practice while living and working in Chile, Montenegro, Mozambique and Switzerland, where I was appointed Director of Research for an NGO engaged in the prevention of torture.

Upon moving to the US in 2010, where I worked with the UN Special Representative on Violence Against Children, I began to attend classes at the Art Students League of New York and joined the board of a Brooklyn-based arts organisation. From here, my art practice started to gain momentum, and eventually I set aside research in favour of working full-time as an artist. I moved back to Scotland in 2022, and currently live and work in Edinburgh. 

What is a standout memory of your time at The High School of Glasgow?

Whenever I think about my time at the High School, I remember the level of commitment and skill of the teaching staff, who also gave up personal time to lead sports activities, run clubs and organise trips. 

It was thanks to them that I had the chance to unlock T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, photograph Fraunhofer lines in the sun’s spectrum, sail on the west coast of Scotland, or attend athletic meetings around the country. I will always be grateful to the teachers who made these experiences a possibility.

What one piece of advice would you give to current pupils and recent leavers as they look to their futures?

To stay curious, keep an open mind and don’t be discouraged by life’s inevitable deviations and detours. They can bring unimagined opportunities. 

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