You are viewing the Write Sky library – a catalogue of skywriting as used by contemporary artists, poets, comedians, and in throughout pop culture. The participants were shown these examples for inspiration as they crafted their own messages. You can use the buttons below to jump to specific examples, or scroll down the page to view all the collected examples.

Clouds, Vik Muniz #DefendtheArts, Saber Ellen & Portia For New York City, Jenny Holzer

How Do I Land?, Kurt Braunohler I Am Sorry Daniel Clowes, Shia Lebeouf The New Life, Raúl Zurita

Pi in the Sky, ISHKY SCIENTIA 正义 IT TAKES A VILLAGE… Sky Erasure Drawing, Gary Simmons

The Sky is the Limit, Kim Beck Sky Poem, David Antin #startcreating, Shia Lebeouf STILL HERE

#stopcreating, Shia Lebeouf Surrender Bob, Jeff and Jer Showgram Surrender Dorothy

#TaylorSwift Uber Sky Untitled (Leave the Land Alone), Bruce Nauman  

WHEN YOU WISH UPON A PARK, Friends of the Rail Park Bibliography

Clouds – Vik Muniz

"Clouds" by Vik Muniz - photo by Creative TimeTitle: Clouds
Artist: Vik Muniz
Date: 2001
Location: New York City
Sponsored by Creative Time.

Four times during a six day period, a skywriter drew a series of clouds over the Manhattan skyline. Using an outline of a cloud designed by Muniz, the “clouds” were drawn by a crop-dusting plane that was been re-worked for skywriting.


“The watching of clouds, whether as a method of forecasting or a form of amusement has been going on for centuries: what one person sees as a chariot, another may see as a bear or as a gathering of angels. Visualization comes from within the observer.” — Vik Muniz

Learn more about this project here.



#DefendtheArts – Saber

Title: #DefendtheArts
Artist: Saber
Date: 2012
Location: NYC

In 2012, LA-based graffiti artist launched an “aerial campaign” above NYC against presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who pledged to eliminate government subsidies for the National Endowment for the Arts and other cultural programs. In full, Saber’s message read:

“Artists designers musicians writers actors poets patrons #DefendTheArts #RomneyHatesArt #gopfail Protect NEA PBS NPR No Cuts #ArtIsInspiration #ArtCreatesJobs #WhatInspiresYou #OccupyWallStreet #art #graffiti #streetart Haring Kase2 Sace IZ StayHigh149 AWR MSK EKLIPS REVOK RETNA MSK Twitter at Saber #DefendTheArts (flag)”

Ellen Degeneres & Portia de Rossi

Each year for their wedding anniversary Ellen and Portia celebrate in a special way: Skywriting. 


For New York City: Planes and Projections – Jenny Holzer


Title: For New York City: Planes and Projections
Artist: Jenny Holzer
Date: 2004
Location: New York, NY

In 2004, internationally acclaimed artist Jenny Holzer returned to New York City to launch For New York City: Planes and Projections, her first public art project in the city in over a decade. The two-part project—in the sky and on public landmarks—partially consisted of a squadron of airplanes that flew in succession along the Hudson River pulling banners emblazoned with texts, including Holzer’s Truisms and a quote from Abraham Lincoln.

Text from the Creative Time website. Photograph by Charlie Samuels.


How Do I Land? – Kurt Braunohler


Title: How Do I Land?
Artist: Kurt Braunohler
Date: 2013
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Kurt Braunohler launched a Kickstarter campaign in January to raise money so that he could “hire a man in a plane to write stupid things with clouds in the sky.” Fans of the concept donated a total of $6,820, and Braunohler asked backers to vote on which message to skywrite above Los Angeles. The options were: How do I land?, Clouds 4 EVA, OMG I’m flying!, Tweet me bro!, God’s Fartin’!

From his Kickstarter: Skywriting is crazy. We’re forcing clouds to say things. That’s inherently funny. How great would it be to look up one day and there’s a message in the sky, for no other reason other than itself. It’s not trying to sell you anything, it’s not trying to tell you something. It’s just there.



Artist: Shia Lebeouf
Date: January 1, 2014
Location: Los Angeles, CA

This one has a long and strange backstory. For the full description, please read the recap here: 

The New Life – Raúl Zurita

Title: The New Life
Artist: Raúl Zurita, Poet
Date: June, 1982
Location: New York, NY

The New Life is a poem that consists of 15 verses that were written in the sky of New York in 1982 by aircraft that gave off wisps of smoke. The poem was published in Chile in the same year in the second book of Zurita, Anteparaíso . The photographs were included in the book, interspersed by five points, threes, color and displayed on two flat.


Pi in the Sky – ISHKY

Title: Pi in the Sky
Artist: ISHKY
Date: 2012
Location: San Francisco Bay

Merging art and technology, ISHKY brought together a team of artists, programmers and scientists to write the first 314 characters of pi’s infinite sequence around the San Francisco Bay Area.

“ISHKY’s “Pi In The Sky” explores the boundaries of scale, public space, permanence, and the relationship between Earth and the physical universe. The project uses existing “dot-matrix” skywriting technology to print quarter-mile tall numbers at 10,000 feet altitude. The fleeting and perpetually incomplete vision of Pi’s never-ending random string unwinding in the sky will create a gentle provocation to the Bay Area’s seven million inhabitants. “Pi In the Sky” will also be the largest physical expression of Pi ever created.” – from the Pi in the Sky Facebook Page

Pi in the Sky has also been executed over SXSW on March 13, 2014 in Austin, TX, and over New York City during “Manhattanhenge” — an astronomical event around the summer solstice when the sunset is aligned with Manhattan’s east-west streets — on July 30, 2014.



Title: SCIENTIA (knowledge) 正义 (justice) IT TAKES A VILLAGE…
Artist: teachers from Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School and Roman Catholic High School
Date: September 14, 2014
Location: Philadelphia, PA
photo by Colette Fu

This message pertains to the state of education in Philadelphia, and the responsibility that we have to our children. The message included one word in Latin (Scientia, which means knowledge) and one in Chinese (正义, pronounced zheng yi, which means justice), to reference the cultural heritage of each school.

Teachers Annie Huynh, Kao Kue, and Rana Sindhikara from Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School worked with Director of Marketing Steve Ziegler, and alumni Kevin Budianto from Roman Catholic High School to decide the final message.

Sky Erasure Drawing – Gary Simmons

Title: Sky Erasure Drawing
Artist: Gary Simmons
Date: 1996
Location: Harlem, NYC

Gary Simmons is an American Artist, best known for his “erasure drawings,” in which he draws in white chalk on slate-painted panels or walls, then smudges them with his hands – a technique that renders their imagery ghostly.

In the video for Sky Erasure Drawing, Mark Stevens, writing for New York Magazine, suggests that Simmons “makes a blackboard of the sky and then, using a skywriter for chalk, draws a rough star in the air. Although the pilot creates confident spurts of white, the lines eventually pull apart, becoming just scribbles in the sky. Even as we create our stars, Simmons seems to suggest, they fade away leaving behind a new blackboard upon which to project passing certainties and changing dreams.”


The Sky is the Limit – Kim Beck


Title: The Sky is the Limit
Artist: Kim Beck
Date: October 2011
Location: New York City

The Sky Is the Limit/NYC consisted of fleeting messages from advertising billboards and storefront signage written
by a skywriting plane, over the High Line in October 2011. Phrases like “Last Chance,” “Space Available,” or “Now Open” gradually unfolded, and then faded back into the air, inviting viewers to interpret the language in their own unique way.



Sky Poem – David Antin


Title: Sky Poem
Artist: David Antin
Date: 1987-1988
Location: Santa Monica, CA

“I had a text in mind – a beginning text for my micromonumental epic poem. It took me a long time to develop it. It didn’t come right away. I needed a line that would keep changing its sense from phrase to phrase. I knew that it would take two to two and a half minutes to put up each line, and I wanted to stretch out that time – the time between lines, but also the time between changes. So I inserted a blank space one word long at the end of each phrase.


which took a couple of minutes to put up. And then because I wanted the line to disappear, I arranged to be in radio contact with the planes from the ground so I could tell them, Don’t come back yet! and the would make a long pass to the north, from which they couldn’t see the line anymore, till I saw the line disappear and called them back to start the next phrase right below where the first on had been


after which they’d go away and I’d wait for that line to disappear so I could call them back to finish up with


The poem was essentially aimed to offer the pleasures of reading to whoever cared. I remember they asked me on a television program after the second one of these skypoems, which I did for the La Jolla Museum on Labor Day a year later – they had me on one of these daytime television programs where a sprightly blonde lady and a sprightly blonde man ask you sprightly questions in a television manner – and they said to me, You put a poem up in the air. What’s a poem? So I thought for a moment and I said, A poem’s a commercial that isn’t selling anything Okay, they said, how much did it cost?”


#startcreating – Shia Lebeouf

Title: #startcreating
Artist: Shia Lebeouf
Date: February 17, 2014
Location: Los Angeles, CA

#startcreating is the third in a string of skywriting events commissioned by Lebeouf. This event follows a public appearance by Lebeouf at a film premiere in Germany with a paper bag over his head, and a collaborative performance piece with Finnish performance artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö and painter Luke Turner, entitled #iamsorry.


STILL      HERE – Hive76 & 319 Artists

Title: STILL    HERE
Artist: Hive76 & 319 Artists
Date: September 14, 2014
Location: Philadelphia, CA
photo by Chris Thompson

This group was interested in using this bold opportunity to convey an intimate message, like one you would receive in a text from a close friend. Their message recalls our bodies and our spaces as they withstand and succumb to the march of time.

STILL    HERE is brought to you by Chris Thompson of Hive76, with artists Jacque Liu, Jaime Alvarez, Sarah Kate Burgess, and Mary Smull.

#stopcreating – Shia Lebeouf

Title: #stopcreating
Artist: Shia Lebeouf
Date: January 10, 2014
Location: Los Angeles, CA

#stopcreating was a phrase that Shia skywrote, a phrase lifted from a cease & desist letter sent by Daniel Clowes’ lawyer. Shia is accused of  stealing the plot of Clowes comic Justin M. Damiano for his short film #stopcreating was commissioned for a reported price of $25,000.


Surrender Bob – Jeff & Jer

photo by John Gastaldo

Title: Surrender Bob
Artist: Jeff & Jer Showgram
Date: August 16, 2013
Location: San Diego

The morning radio show “Jeff & Jer Showgram,” from station KYXY, hired sky writers to wrote out “SURRENDER BOB” in the skies of San Diego Friday August 16th over three areas of the city — a message intended for embattled Mayor Bob Filner. The planes also spelled out Jeff and Jer.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was embroiled in a sex scandal for the previous month, but refused to resign from office. One day before the skywriting, a 16th victim came forward….a great-grandmother who is a city worker providing information on senior services.


Surrender Dorothy – The Wizard of Oz

screencap from the movie, "The Wizard of Oz"

Title: Surrender Dorothy
Movie: Wizard of Oz
Date: 1939

The first appearance of the phrase is in the famous 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz (it is not in the novel or any previous adaptations). In the scene, Dorothy Gale has reached the Emerald City with her companions, whereupon they are treated to the hospitality and technological comforts of the fantastic city. As they leave, the Wicked Witch of the West appears in the sky riding her broomstick, skywriting the words “SURRENDER DOROTHY”.


#TaylorSwift 8/18 5 p.m. Yahoo


Title: #Taylor Swift 8/18 5 p.m. Yahoo
Date: August 14, 2014
Location: New York, NY
photo by @socarolinesays on Twitter

In the sky over the Flatiron in NYC, planes wrote out #TaylorSwift as well as 8/18 5 p.m. Yahoo. This sky-typing event was an advertisement for Swift’s then upcoming livestream announcement, which fans correctly speculated was to announce her new song and new music video for the single Shake It Off on her new album, 1989.

Uber Sky


Title: Uber Sky
Date: Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2014
Location: New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Diego

From the Uber Blog: “For one day only, hopeless romantics in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Diego can send a turbocharged love letter — powered by MasterCard Priceless Surprises — right from the Uber app. UberSKY costs $500, but sharing your love in the Great Blue Yonder is priceless. Here’s how it works:

  • Open Uber between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. this Friday, 2/14
  • Brainstorm a romantic message (12 characters max)
  • If it’s available, request the UberSKY option
  • Confirm the $500 price tag and wait for an Uber rep to call
  • We’ll ask for your message and tell you when you can expect to see it in the sky

Demand will be high, so please be persistent if you’re unable to order skywriting on your first try… Everyone can join the lovefest by tweeting pics of the UberSKY messages with the hashtag #SkysTheLimit.”


Untitled (Leave the Land Alone) – Bruce Nauman

12 September 2009, photo: Primo Catalano, courtesy, The Armory Center for the Arts

Title: Untitled (Leave the Land Alone)
Artist: Bruce Nauman
Date: 1969/2009
Location: Pasadena, CA

In September 2009, Bruce Nauman’s skywriting work kicked off Installations Inside/Out, a 20th anniversary exhibition of installation art at Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts. Nauman developed this project for an exhibition about Earth Art in 1969, but it was never produced. Now, 40 years later, the Armory Center for the Arts brings Nauman’s art back to Pasadena, written four separate times over the Arroyo Seco. Nauman, a master of language and admirer of Dada punster Marcel Duchamp, chose the phrase Leave the Land Alone to: reflect the emerging values of the environmental art movement of the 1960’s, reference the ephemeral ‘sculptures’ that Nauman pioneered (whose work often utilized video and performance), and as a poetic awareness of our own fragility and mortality.


WHEN YOU WISH UPON A PARK – Friends of the Rail Park


Artist: Friends of the Rail Park
Date: September 14, 2014
Location: Philadelphia, PA
photo by Joanna Quigley

This message refers to the progress and labor associated with the now 10-year old initiative to  turn the abandoned Reading Viaduct into a unique public park for this neighborhood, and for Philadelphia.

This message was brought to us by a collaboration between Reading Viaduct Project and Friends of the Rail Park. In fact, their collaboration was so successful, that they “married” their groups back in October 2013!

“VIK MUNIZ | Clouds.” VIK MUNIZ | Clouds. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jun. 2013. <>.

Massara, Kathleen. “Artist ‘SABER’ Skywrites Over New York City With #DefendTheArts Anti-Romney Message (PHOTOS).” The Huffington Post., 23 Sept. 2012. Web. 26 June 2013. <>.
Harrington, Steven P. “Brooklyn Street Art.” Brooklyn Street Art. N.p., Sept.-Oct. 2012. Web. 26 June 2013. <>.

Ellen and Portia
“Ellen and Portia’s Anniversary Skywriting Through the Years.” EllenTV. N.p., 19 Oct. 2012. Web. 30 Jun. 2013. <>.
Hernandez, Greg. “Portia De Rossi Has Surprise in Sky for Ellen DeGeneres on Sixth Wedding Anniversary.” Gay Star News. N.p., 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <>

For New York: Planes and Projections
“For New York City: Planes and Projections | Creative Time.” Creative Time. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. <>.

How Do I Land?
Almendrala, Anna. “‘How Do I Land’ Skywriting Prank Brought To You By Kurt Braunohler, Kickstarter (PHOTO).” The Huffington Post., 15 May 2013. Web. 12 July 2013. <>.
Braunohler, Kurt. “Kickstarter.” Kickstarter. N.p., 23 Jan. 2013. Web. 12 July 2013. <>.

I Am Sorry Daniel Clowes
Lebeouf, Shia (@thecampaignbook). “CLOUD: – vapor floating in the atmosphere – remote servers used to SHARE DATA – to make LESS CLEAR or TRANSPARENT” 1 Jan 2014, 6:31 p.m. Tweet.

The New Life
Jorquera, Carolina C. “Raúl Zurita: “La Poesía Y El Arte Son Tan Sólo Una De Las Manifestaciones De La Poética”.” Crtica De Arte Contemporneo. N.p., 11 Mar. 2013. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <>.
Soros, John. “Ex-machina: De Aviones, Bulldozers Y Cámaras (o Zurita Y El Land Art).” Revista Laboratorio. N.p., 24 Oct. 2011. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <>.

Pi in the Sky – ISHKY, 2012, San Francisco
“ISHKY.” 2012 ZERO1 Biennial. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2013. <>.

Pi in the Sky – AirSign, 13 March 2014, Austin Texas
“AirSign Aerial Advertising.” Pi In The Sky Over SXSW Austin TX. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2014.
Wear, Ben. “Austin Skies to Be Stuffed with Pi This Evening.” 
Austin News, Sports, Weather, Longhorns. N.p., 13 Mar. 2014. Web. 05 Apr. 2014.

Pi in the Sky – Ben Davis (ISHKY), 30 July 2014
Lipsky, Jessica. “Pi in the Sky Over New York | EE Times.” EETimes. EETimes, 30 July 2014. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <>.

Sky Erasure Drawing
Stevens, Mark. “New York Magazine.” N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2013. <>.

The Sky is the Limit
Doll, Jen. “Skywriting Freaking People Out Yesterday Was Just Art.” The Village Voice Blogs. The Village Voice, 10 Oct. 2011. Web. 5 Aug. 2013. <>.
“Kim Beck, The Sky Is The Limit.” The High Line. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2013. <>.

Sky Poem
Antin, David. “Fine Furs.” Critical Inquiry 19.1 (1992): 151-163. JSTOR. Web. 10 Sept. 2013.
Kac, Eduardo. “AGAINST GRAVITROPISM.” AGAINST GRAVITROPISM. N.p., Sept. 2003. Web. 04 Dec. 2013. <>.

Lebeouf, Shia (@thecampaignbook). “#startcreating” 17 Feb 2014, 4:10 p.m. Tweet.

Lebeouf, Shia (@thecampaignbook). “#stopcreating” 10 Jan 2014, 6:09 p.m. Tweet.

Surrender Bob
“10News – ‘Surrender Bob’ Message Written in San Diego Sky – – News.” 10News. N.p., 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 18 Aug. 2013. <>.
Eastman, Leslie. “Mayor Bob Filner | Skywriting Surrender | Sexual Harassment.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion. N.p., 17 Aug. 2013. Web. 18 Aug. 2013. <>.

Surrender Dorothy
“Surrender Dorothy.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Aug. 2013. Web. 18 Aug. 2013. <>.

Roy, Jessica. “Someone Wrote #TaylorSwift in the Sky Over NYC.” Daily Intelligencer. New York Magazine, 14 Aug. 2014. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <>

Uber SKY
Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH). “Thanks @uber for having UberSky yesterday, and for
making me seem all romantical and badassish.” 15 Feb 2014, 2:22 p.m. Tweet.
Tess. “UberSKY: Give Your Love Altitude with On-Demand Skywriting.” Uber Blog. Uber, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.
Uber (@uber). “#Our last UberSKY of the day @Uber_LA ended in a marriage proposal. Congrats Lisa and Richard! #SkysTheLimit” 14 Feb 2014, 8:55 p.m. Tweet.

Untitled (Leave the Land Alone)
Knight, Christopher. “Artist Bruce Nauman Skywrites over Pasadena.” Los Angeles Times, 12 Sept. 2009. Web. 20 Aug. 2013. <>.