Robert Thomas Nixon (Bob Nixon) was born in South Bank, Middlesbrough, in North Yorkshire on July 7th, 1939. He was the fifth of six children born to Arthur Nixon and Phylis Thompson. Robert's mother Phylis worked as a housewife while his father worked locally as a steelworker. As a child, Robert spent much of his time drawing and sketching, and his artistic skills were recognised when he was seven years old by teachers at Cromwell Road School which he attended in South Bank. During his early years as an artist, and supported by teachers at the Central Secondary Modern School (Victoria Street, Southbank), Robert won several art competitions and a scholarship to Middlesbrough Art College in 1955 when he was sixteen.