Born in 1925 in Osaka, Sumi entered the Gutaï group in 1955. A trained economist, he began his artistic practice after meeting Shimamoto.
Like every Gutai member, Sumi had to practice his art in the most innovative way possible. He uses an abacus dipped in Indian ink: "the intangible joy of drawing ink with an abacus led to a natural expression of power and joy."
Sumi's work is comparable to that of the greatest abstract expressionist artists of the second half of the 20th century.