Vonn Cummings Sumner grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the son of a picture framer and a school teacher. Seeing the art that his father was framing, as well as travel in Europe, Central America and India shaped Sumner’s visual aesthetic during his formative years. He attended the University of California, at Davis, where he earned both a Bachelor’s degree and an M.F.A. in painting, with highest honors. While at Davis he worked closely with celebrated painter and educator Wayne Thiebaud both as a student and as a teaching assistant.
Upon graduating in 2000, Sumner moved to New York City, where he painted and worked in museums, including the Guggenheim Museum. In 2002 Sumner relocateded to the Los Angeles area, where he co-founded the Los Angeles-based collective group of artists called Pharmaka who, from 2004 to 2010, operated a non-profit exhibition space in the Historic Bank District of Downtown Los Angeles. They initiated the first Downtown Art Walk and played a role in making Downtown the Arts District it is today. In 2018, Sumner co-founded the artist collective I.P.A. (Independent Painters' Association), a group of painters who also run an exhibition space called The Painter's Room in downtown Santa Ana.
Sumner has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1998. He has been featured or reviewed in many publications including New American Paintings, Elle Décor, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, L.A. Weekly, Art Ltd., Riviera magazine, Hi Fructose, Juxtapoz, Cartwheel Art, The Painter's Table, Boom magazine, Quick Fiction, and many others. Sumner has shown regularly throughout the Los Angeles area since 2003, including in a solo museum show- Vonn Sumner: The Other Side of Here- at the Riverside Art Museum in the fall of 2008. A second solo museum exhibition, Vonn Sumner: Stages, followed in 2011 at the Phillips Museum of Art on the campus of Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania. Sumner's paintings have also been shown in Venice, Italy; Manchester, England, and Switzerland.
Sumner is represented by KP Projects/Merry Karnowsky in Los Angeles, Paul Thiebaud Gallery in San Francisco, and Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C.. He is a tenured professor of painting at Fullerton College.