By Julijana Capone
WINNIPEG — “We’re punks printing for punks, but I wouldn’t put that on a banner or anything,” says Laura Rewucki, one half of Satisfied Life Prints, a silk-screening company that prides itself on its DIY ethics and basement origins.
Since setting up shop in 2015, Rewucki (full disclosure: my sister) and her partner, Joey Belanger (also of punk bands Denial // Error and Sniff), have focused their business around tour merch, show posters, and the odd tie-dyed band bootleg. (We’ll refrain from noting which bands to prevent them from getting sued.)
“We set ourselves apart in that we offer equitable services for people like us—musicians, artists, and creatives that don’t have a lot of money,” says Rewucki. “We’re not trying to get rich off of this, and we know what it’s like to be broke.” A testament to that creed is the fact that Satisfied Life is open to smaller runs and, on occasion, bartering.
“I’ve done smaller runs of 12 and taken trades of tapes and records for shirts,” says Belanger. “I think people like that…I remember being in bands and not being able to find anyone that was reasonable enough to print shirts through, so we’d always have to print them in the States and get them shipped to Winnipeg. That’s another reason why we got into this. It’s hard for a lot of the smaller music communities to get their shirts printed, because they can’t afford it.”
And the pair knows the community they’re operating in, working with wares like a producer works with a recording, with a careful understanding of when something needs to be rough and when it needs to be polished. “I think some shirts need to look kind of bad,” Belanger says. “But in a good way. Attention to detail and a sense of style are important in screen printing.”
In the past year or so, Satisfied Life has printed merch for Winnipeg shop/label Eat ‘Em Up Records, and groups including Genex, Whip, Human Music, Infector, Withdrawal, Karoshi, and REALiTY GROUP, along with a special 40th anniversary T-shirt for ‘70s classic rockers Harlequin (lead vocalist George Belanger is Joey’s dad, by the way).
They’re happy to print most things, for that matter—even your wedding invitations. “We did wedding invites for our friends Ferro and Stib from Whip,” says Rewucki. “We don’t ordinarily do that, but it was an interesting challenge.”
All things considered, they seem to have been up for the task from the start, making t-shirts using a DIY method they say they wouldn’t recommend to anyone, before upgrading to a professional set-up.
“We used to dry shirts in our oven,” says Rewucki. “But we had to be super careful not to burn them or light them on fire. It was a pretty crazy time, but we made it work. From the beginning, this project has just been a lot of trying, failing, and figuring it out.”
While Satisfied Life Prints was born out of a desire to fill a void in the silk-screening market in the Prairies, it was also intended to fill a void in the pair’s creative lives.
“I’ve always had jobs where I would have to cover my tattoos, and conform to the stranglehold of corporate culture,” says Rewucki. “I wanted to have a job where I had some creative control and could dress however I want, and in the end got what I put into it. That’s more of the seed of it than anything.”
For more information about Satisfied Life Prints, head to satisfiedlifeprints.com. You can also find many of their punk and metal shirts at Music Trader and Eat ‘Em Up Records in Winnipeg or at a merch table near you.band T-shirts, Manitoba, MB, Satisfied Life Prints, T-shirts