The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012

December 12, 2006

Butt Painter In Trouble

Teacher in crack over butt art

To hear the students tell it, Stephen Murmer is a fun, popular art teacher who is always quick to crack a joke. But there is another side to Murmer. A side that has agitated school officials and resulted in his suspension. A side that focuses, almost entirely, on the crack in his backside.

Outside of class and under an alter ego, the self-proclaimed “butt-printing artist” creates floral and abstract art by plastering his posterior and genitals with paint and pressing them against canvas. His cheeky creations sell for hundreds of dollars.

This has not gone over well with Chesterfield County school officials, who placed Murmer on administrative leave from his job at Monacan High School.

I’ve often said that when I have kids, I’m going to give them a bunch of paint and a canvas, take the result to a gallery and tell them I made it, and see how much money I can make. That’s how much I typically value “abstract art”.

But I’m all for people to make whatever art their heart desires, and if people want to pay them hundreds of dollars for it, more power to them. Of course, when you’re a public school teacher, you might have to keep a lower profile, but this teacher was doing that, acting under a different name and always in disguise when being interviewed/photographed with his art. And his subject matter is completely tame, even if his methods are a little unconventional.

So why did they discipline him?

“In the school system, personnel regulations state that teachers are expected to set an example for students through their personal conduct,” Marlow said. “Additionally, the Supreme Court has stated that schools must teach by example and that teachers, like parents, are role models.”

Hmm… So he made a successful business out of marketing a quirky style, doing absolutely nothing that would be considered really immoral, and creating art that actually is pretty cool, not in the slightest bit obscene. I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be a role model. Maybe it’s that he just doesn’t fit into the cookie-cutter mold that our schools are trying to create, that of a mindless drone willing to follow employer and government into the breach. After all, judging by the cost of his art, he’s probably making more money painting with his ass than teaching at the school. Schools these days, unfortunately, don’t really understand anything but the lowest common denominator, and this artist is anything but. The fact that it has come to disciplinary action shows just how hollow our government educational system has become.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:01 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Education, News


  1. I wish the link for the art had come up, I would have liked to see what butt art looked like. Did you see TF’s latest post, it’s similar…..

    Comment by Lucy Stern — December 13, 2006 @ 8:51 am
  2. I must really be out of it. I had heard this story on the radio this week, but I didn’t catch that it was right here in my school district. I’ll fire up the complaints – this is freaking ridiculous.

    Comment by Wulf — December 15, 2006 @ 6:36 am

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