Franklin Thompson aka @Apt_50 is a multifaceted visual artist as well as the owner and creative director of DC's very own Rent Is Due brand. Through his skillset as a painter, with a strong focus on abstract and fine art, Franklin is able to portray a multitude of symbolic references of nature and the human anatomy throughout his paintings. Not only has Franklin made a name for hisself as one of the more prominent artist in this area - he has also created one of the leading streetwear brands in Washington, D.C. From what started as an ode to a term used by his mother - Rent Is Due has now become synonymous to encouraging others to work at their crafts to attract abundance by any means possible.
We had the pleasure of visiting Franklin's space where we learned more about his creative process, how nature relates to his craft, and what we can expect from him this year.
1. Who are you + what do you do?
I’m Franklin Thompson, Frank…APT 50. I AM ART. I run Rent Is Due and am an accomplished artist and painter when painting feels right.
2. Tell us about your brand(s) and the messaging behind it.
I started the brand Rent Is Due 7 years ago, immediately after graduating high school. The brand is far from trendy and flashy but instead dedicated to fly & forward thinking individuals. Rent is Due serves as a reminder to get up and make your dreams a reality. I am proud to say my brand is bonafide DC Streetwear, and it has been a pleasure to see how successful it has been over the years. Like many things coming out of the Nation’s Capital, Rent Is Due is Worldwide Baby!
3. Which creation of yours are you most proud of?
I can’t narrow down my single greatest creation. I put the same energy into all my projects. I always give 100% to what I’m working on and tend to be very meticulous with the creative process. It is important for me to have a hand in every single step of the production. I must make sure that what I’m creating is executed the right way and properly exhibits my initial vision. There’s no greater feeling than seeing a well-executed plan come together. I feel most proud when I can finally touch and feel the clothing I've designed, or see the 48” x 60” abstract painting I just whipped up together from a table napkin I drew on days earlier.
4. How does nature influence your work?
Nature influences my work because it is ever growing. It’s the one constant concept above all. 25/8 I’m the same guy but sometimes my mood can switch in a heartbeat. My mood swings don’t typically last long at all, but I’m always reminded that I’m no different than anything else of the Earth. Just as in nature - I want to create breathtaking and thought-provoking pieces. Today everything seems to move faster than the speed of light but when people see 1 of my creations, I really want them to focus in on the majesty of it all and to feel something. Nature makes you feel almost everything!
5. What’s your favorite plant?
My favorite plant is the Money Tree. A great friend of mine gifted me one last year, and it’s been the first plant I haven’t let down. The plant started out small, but over time she's grown so large that I’ve been told that it’s time to expand to a bigger pot. Seeing my Money Tree every morning is a constant reminder for me to get up and get to it…It’s the poster child plant for a hustler!
6. What do your plants mean to you?
My plants mean a lot to me. I’ve had a lot of different plants over the years. Because of my daily schedule I realize that I can only maintain and care for certain types of plants. I used to be geeked to own the biggest plant I could find but it didn’t take long for me to realize that a Majesty Palm isn’t gonna survive in a low light environment…HaHa. After a couple plants died on me I then turn to doing my own solid independent research project where I figured out which plants would be best for me and my space. Since then it’s been cool.
7. What have your plants taught you?
My plants taught me to pay more attention. I’ve always been observant but taking care of a plant requires you to be even more attentive. My money tree is growing day by day, all while my business is boomin. Who says money can’t grow on trees? HaHa
8. What inspires you?
I lost my Dad 4 years ago to Parkinson’s. Losing my Pops shook my life up a lot, but afterwards I felt like a whole new chapter in my life was being written. A lot of what I do now is in memory of him. He was a cool person to run ideas by, and always heard me out no matter if I was right or wrong. Now a days a lot of stuff feels artificial and fake. If I’m ever down bad, I just think about my Old Man…and it helps me to get back on focus and stay on track.
9. What activities or practices do you engage in to help you disconnect + decompress?
I’ve always been into motorsports, fast cars and bikes. I have a ’76 Triumph TR6 and a ‘01 Harley Sportster . Both of them are carbureted classics, and it feels good to pull up in/on something you know nobody has especially when one of which is an Award Winning Show Car. Of course, living in DC, I can’t enjoy these vehicles year round, but during the Spring and Summer there’s no place I’d rather be than out there on the road! When I’m just chillin out, I enjoy painting and adding to my art collection. Art has always been a huge part of my life, and it’s damn near mind blowing to see what I can throw together on canvas. Art has no rules or boundaries, and with either creating or collecting I’ve learned that slow & steady wins the race.
10. How do you practice keeping your mental health intact?
Mental Health is real. I’m especially appreciative that my people are taking it more serious than ever. Now a days I just surround myself with the real and that is all I need. I know so many people, that do so many things and for that the cross pollination is great. I've found it most useful when bouncing different ideas while pulling all your resources together.
11. What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness is taking care of yourself. I’ve never been one to plan out my days, or even weeks but I do have set goals for myself to achieve. Some goals I reach quicker than others, and some goals I know I don’t have all the necessary tools to complete them now, but later I will. Wellness is also geared towards a healthy lifestyle. I’m living every day I wake. One thing I know for sure is that everybody is alive, but everyone isn’t living.
12. What would make the world a better place?
I think common sense would make the world a better place. My Pops would always say common sense ain’t common. Even the saying is common, HaHa. I honestly think that if everyone tapped into thinking more critically for themselves and others then there wouldn’t be so much chaos in this world as there is now. Everyone is so quick to react these days. Everything isn’t so deep and if everyone were to just chill, peep game, and then make a genuine decision, we’d all be in a better place.
13. What can we expect from you this year? .
This year I’m putting the pedal to the metal for real. I plan on dropping new Rent Is Due gear & accessories every 1st of the month. Twelve drops a year is something I got to live up to with my brand. Rent Is Due Worldwide stockist is also a goal of mine. I’m also looking forward to my artwork being featured in more art exhibitions and gallery showings. Peace