Who is Eclair


From 2018, finally answering the burning question.

Back in 2006, I started snapping photos of stencils from an artist that had many names. Many names for many stencils: Clair, Eclaire, Eclair, Eclairacuda, Eclairitory, Swanksy, and the now discontinued Eclair(acuda) Bandersnatch. Images ranged from little dogs, women in heels and tight dresses, bondage, sailors and cowboys, whistleblowers, animal and human hybrids, animals, buildings, Banksy, politics; all in a unique hand-drawn and cut style. Eclair also had words in stencils, which I think is the hardest thing to cut out. So many words, with the paint job sometimes being rushed because all of these images were mostly done without permission. 

Eclair's stencil archive has been updated, with a few new images, but it wasn't easy. Out of the thousands of stencils on this site, Eclair's archive has always been the most difficult to curate and maintain. If the names were not enough trouble, there was the volume of work going up. I could usually remember if I had snapped a stencil, but with Clair's work, I snapped it all and looked at my back ups to see if I already had it. I try to keep out duplicates but I am sure duplicates exist in Eclair's archive. 

I have met Eclair several times over the years, and they were all memorable. At a Last Gasp holiday burrito party, I met her for the first time. While we geeked out about stencils, I noticed that 3-4 people were watching our conversation like I was giving an interview. Her answers were amazing and funny, and one awed spectator asked me who she was. Another time, at a "Mission Muralismo" book event at the de Young museum, Eclair decided to set up a stencil-making station without permission, beside my stencil exhibit, INSIDE the de Young. Security made her go outside where she had a steady stream of people taking stencils in the cold, foggy night. And then I happened to bike by her just off Divisadero Street while she was painting an illegal stencil in the middle of the day. Dressed as glamorous as her stencils characters, with her tiny dog (just like in her stencils) running around, she lugged her paint cans and cut outs in a fancy strapped bag. "Do you always paint stencils in broad daylight dressed this nice?" I asked. She confirmed she did.

She does do permission work, but it looks exactly like her illegal work. Eclair has very little social media presence, and rarely does exhibits, but I try to keep her work up here for all to share. She isn't getting up as much as she used to, but here's to 18 years of Eclair in the streets of San Francisco!