Art and wealth: getting your assets on canvas

This much I know: Russ Fitch is a retired investment advisor who grew up in Illinois, moved to Colorado in 1972, worked for the EPA at one point and now lives in Heather Gardens with his wife, JoAnn, and their cat, Hops. He's also an artist who claims a kinship with Rothko, Johns and O'Keefe.

Describing Fitch's art is a little trickier. His recently self-published book, The Power of Diversity and Its Connection with Wealth: An Artistic Rendering, features several of Fitch's paintings and collages dealing, in  a semi-abstract way, with the subject of wealth and investing.

Using color schemes that correspond to different types of tangible and virtual assets, and drawing on some of the symbols and nomenclature of Wall Street -- pie charts, graphs, percentage signs, and so on -- Fitch has set out to deliver a visual lecture on why a diversified portfolio is a good idea.

If this sounds daunting, it really isn't. It's actually lively and fun, thanks in large part to the brisk and bouncy commentary by Finch that accompanies each work.

In "Self Portait of Wealth," pictured above, Fitch set out to do more than capture his net worth. "This painting isn't about the size of my wealth -- how small can a painting be -- it's about where my money is invested...the content of my character...my values," he explains. "Painting my self-wealth portrait helped me understand myself...my financial risk tolerance and the context for my art."

Other works in the collection celebrate the power of compounding interest, remind viewers of the importance of asset allocation, and attempt to capture the personalities involved in conservative and aggressive investment strategies.

A biographical note at the back of the book lists Fitch's public exhibitions at the Foothills Arts Center and the Heather Gardens community center. Too bad his simple message of diversity in wealth and art didn't reach the financial wizards behind the economic meltdown before they blew it all on hot-pink, subprime-backed securities and speculation in oil futures.

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