Franklin Thompson is a multidisciplinary artist born and raised in Washington, D.C. First drawn to painting and illustrating, Thompson began his art practice at 16. Without any formal art school education, he started commissioning works under the APT 50 moniker in late 2012 at 18. The alias—a nod to the ironic idea of a lofty unit with boundless, sweeping city views and the sobering reality of tenancy and monthly bills—came about as Thompson grew accustomed to paying rent to his mother upon graduating high school.
Soon thereafter, Thompson’s practice expanded through the launch of his streetwear brand Rent Is Due as a creative outlet and means of self-sufficiency. With collections spanning apparel and accessories, Rent Is Due took hold at a seminal point in the lives of Thompson and his peers, who were all taking up more young adult responsibilities, and in the rapidly evolving D.C. landscape, emerging as an authentic output of “the real DC” exalted by natives while gentrification encroached on local traditions and legacies.
Today, as a visual artist, Thompson’s practice focuses primarily on abstract expressionism with a concentration on human anatomy and numeric symbology. He credits growing up in the city, with access to its many cultural institutions and melting pot of fellow residents, as well as his late father, who battled Parkinson’s disease in his final years, as core inspirations in his works. Thompson’s pieces have been featured in the Michelin-recognized restaurant Maketto, its sister restaurant Bronze, the SOMEWHERE retail store, and the AVEC on H apartment community.