SUGAI Kumi was born in 1919 in Kobe, Japan. At the age of nine he started to experiment with oil painting and enrolled in the Osaka School of Fine Arts when he was fourteen. He became acquainted with Western painting techniques and at the same time explored both typography and Japanese calligraphy, which became important aspects in his subsequent works. Sugai left art school prematurely to work for Hankyu Electric Rail Company in commercial advertising from 1937 – 1945. During the 1940s, he became familiar with the works of European artist such as Max Ernst, Paul Klee and Joan Miro and later discovered the works of American artists, Alexander Calder and Jackson Pollock through art publication.

In 1952, he moved to Paros and enrolled in the Academie de la Grand Chaumiere, Paris and dedicated himself to painting. Sugai had his first solo exhibition at Galerie Craven in 1954. There after he began to evolve from calligraphic and organic motifs to more hard edge geometric imagery. Sugai artworks from 1960s and 1970s features large scale capitals and reduces typographic forms. Since his first solo exhibition at Galerie Cravenne in 1954, he showed his works in Brussels, New York, Hanover, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Basel, Tokyo, etc. Sugai died on May 14th 1996, in Kobe.