GOUCH is a documentary movie about New York graffiti culture and one’s man drive to leave a legacy within it. When filmmaker Raul Buitrago and graffiti writer GOUCH began to correspond in 2014 about making a film that would highlight his graffiti, their initial goal was to create a short video focused on action footage. While GOUCH had been featured in the classic State Your Name graf documentary, neither had worked on a more substantial film project before.
But once they started to film and record some of GOUCH’s voiceover narration, a more complex story emerged. They decided to run with it, and the result is a 24-minute documentary film simply called GOUCH that explores the question of what it means to leave a legacy as a graffiti writer.
Rather than rushing through action sequences (though there are plenty of those in the film), Buitrago chronicles GOUCH’s life growing up in South Brooklyn and his dedication to developing his own style on and off the street. But GOUCH also reveals a more private side of its subject. The film hints at the writer’s past battle with personal demons before showing him in his present role as a father, giving the viewer a more nuanced idea of the impulses, both negative and positive, that have fueled GOUCH’s unrelenting drive.
As to his legacy, to GOUCH it comes down as much to sharing his knowledge with the next generation as the creative act itself. “I’m just happy to be a part of this community. I’m honored that people and my peers think I’m good at writing. I have a craft that I can hand down the same way it was handed down to me. That means the most. Being able to keep this culture growing, but placing a strong emphasis on the true craftsmanship of it. This history needs to be preserved.”