Ernest Tino Trova was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 19th, 1927. His father was an industrial designer, an influence that was ultimately to play a significant role in Trova's art. Trova attended no art schools, teaching himself, learning intuitively. Referring to his rejection of academic training, he has said- "Every kid draws but I became serious when I was about seventeen . . . Art study had nothing to do with it. I haven't studied, and I don't think it's even necessary today. To paint a picture you don't have to have anybody tell you what to do. There's a combination of how people work.