Artist Mike Curatello

10:21 AM Anis Widayanti 0 Comments

A few Saturdays back, we had the pleasure of interviewing
Tattoo Artist Mike Curatello who recently became sole proprietor of Nightmare Studio in Reno (soon to be called Lasting Dose Tattoo). He was hard at work preparing for the expansion and Grand Opening set to take place sometime in January 2015.

Originally from New York, and fully representing some East Coast charm, Mike Curatello first apprenticed at a tattoo shop in Long Island, New York and then went onto to own East Coast tattoo for a year before moving to Reno in 2006.

When asked how Mike became a tattooer,
“I  just walked into a shop one day and asked for an apprenticeship,” Curatello said. “I was 17 years old and was apprenticing before I could even legally get my own first tattoo. It was an unorthodox shop.”
By the time he was 24 years old, he bought his first tattoo shop in New York, owned it for a year and sold it to move out west.
Invited by some friends to move to Reno, in 2006  he just packed it up with nothing to lose, and said goodbye to the East Coast.

Mike states that he has loved living here ever since.

"Reno being the biggest little city is perfect for me because it's still a city, but without all the big city issues."
 When Curatello first ventured west, he landed his first job in Reno at Battleborn Tattoo, where Archie Wood gave Curatello an opportunity to work for awhile until he figured out how to open his own tattoo shop with buddy Brandon.

 When he first started tattooing here in Reno he said there were only a handful of tattoo shops around.
Definitely not like it is now.
Yet even with the number of shops here now, Curatello says the tattoo culture is still not as saturated in Reno as it is in Long Island.

“It’s just a different vibe out here.  People are a bit more relaxed. I like the city life but I don’t like the suburbs.” Which is why Midtown is perfect for Curatello, who has lived in this part of town for six years, before it was even known as Midtown.

After working at Battleborn Tattoo, the first spot that Curatello and friend Brandon Collins rented was a space on the third floor of the old home above what is now Sundance Bookstore on California Avenue. Convinced the home is haunted, Curatello and Collins couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

When the Melting Pot moved from their location on 888 South Virginia street and the place became available, Curatello and Collins rented the space and had Nightmare Tattoo Shop up and running in three weeks.

The original 1,200 square foot space just around the corner from St. James Brasserie was built in the 1930’s and still has the old school brick appeal.

Things have grown considerably, which is why Nightmare’s currently undergoing an expansion. The new addition will give the shop 1,100 more square feet with 600 square feet dedicated to the use of an art gallery and art shows for local artists to promote their work.
(Some of Mike's artwork)

This expansion, which used to be the location of Barnes Radio Service, a sort of Best Buy service and hardware shop of it’s time, is likely to have been built in the 30’s as well.

Outside of knocking down walls and creating new space to grow, Curatello has still been keeping his customers happy with new tattoos everyday.

When asked if birds are his niche in the tattoo world, Curatello said,  “I just really enjoy doing birds. I wish I could own one but I have a cat who is a phenomenal hunter. I’m not a super sentimental guy. I guess I enjoy doing black and grey.  But Really, I just like to tattoo. “

While Curatello’s style has changed so much as an artist, which is an ongoing process, his decision to come west and start a shop has clearly been a good one. 

When asked if there are any tattoos he won’t do,

“Yes. As a tattooer I should do any of the tattoos that I’m asked, but I don’t like anything Swastika Nazi Propaganda. I’m just not about that.” Curatello said.

What does inspire Curatello are two artists he’s obsessed with right now. James Jean who did all the covers for the comic book Fables and his digital art.  Mike was stoked to order a super limited edition of one of his pieces as a Christmas present to himself. And Jeremy Geddes who is super surrealistic. One of his local inspirations are Bryce Chislom.

While the shop undergoes expansion into the suite next door, it’s also in the process of a name change that is set to go public at the beginning of the year.  It just felt right to change the name as the shop has grown and  will no longer just be a tattoo shop. Lasting Dose Tattoo is the new name that co-tattooist Tony Medellin first mentioned and was inspired by the band Crowbar’s song with that title.
The name just sort of stuck.

In addition to the art studio, Curatello will have seven tattooers ready to do your art work Reno. As a management style, Curatello likes to run his shop democratically.

“I’m nobody’s boss,” Curatello said. “We all have equal say. I don't like the boss title, I’m just not into that. "

In his spare time, you can find him at home with his Boston Terriers, Buford and Arya (the only thing he doesn’t hold against Boston), Curatello is a huge New York Yankee’s fan,  he enjoys painting, and playing Assassins Creed as well as all things from the Sci-Fi world.

You can find Mike at
Lasting Dose Tattoo
(soon to be formerly known as Nightmare Tattoo)

 at a few upcoming Tattoo Conventions;

Lady Luck- March 20th-22nd
Lady Luck Expo info
Silverstate – May 15-17th
Silver State Tattoo info

and  you can contact him here
 Contact Mike at

Also you are invited to attend the grand opening party in January 2015 stay tuned for more details.

No dot dot el and Jen <3