Yasuo Sumi was born in Osaka, Japan in 1925. He entered into the teaching profession after having graduated from Kansai University and the Graduate School of Economics at Ritsumeikan University. While he taught math, he still loved to create, painting in a wild, emotional style that made for an interesting counterpart to his academic background in mathematical analysis. In 1954, one of Yasuo Sumi's works was nominated by Shozo Shimamoto and then selected for the 7th Ashiya City Exhibition in Hyogo Prefecture. It was there that he met Jiro Yoshihara, who sat on the exhibition's jury. The two got along well, and they connected connecting over the uninhibited zeal Yasuo Sumi put into his practice of splattering oil paints. In 1955, he was invited to join the Gutai Art Association, and he was a consistent contributor throughout, exhibiting in as many as 21 Gutai group showcases.
With an art career that spanned over half a century, Yasuo Sumi's works have been exhibited all over the world, including in the "Passage to the East" group show at the 45th Venice Biennale in Italy (1993), at Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris, France (1999), at the Museo Cantonale d'Arte in Lugano, Switzerland (2010), at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, USA (2013), and the "Enchanting Mess: Yasuo Sumi in the 1950s retrospective" at the Itami City Museum of Art in Japan (2015). His works are also held in a number of permanent collections, including those of the Rachofsky House in Dallas (USA), the Ashiya City Museum of Art and History, the Miyagi Museum of Art, the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, and the National Museum of Art (Japan).