The credit crisis explained to you -- in pictures


Sometimes a picture speaks a thousand words.

In this case, a simple animated illustration, the thesis project of Jonathan Jarvis, a student at the prestigious Art Center in Pasadena, CA, manages to do the nearly impossible: Explain the convoluted mess that is the current credit crisis.

Check it out here:

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

He does such a deft job explaining the mess, Barry Ritholtz, the quant behind The Big Picture was impressed enough to feature it on his widely-read financial blog.

How did an art student grasp such complicated financial concepts such as CDOs and Credit Default Swaps? "I've taken interest in economics and finance for years," he wrote me in an email. "And good friends of mine are currently at investment banks and financial institutions. These friends proved valuable resources."

He also did a lot of old-fashioned research, during the course of which, he noticed the dearth of any kind of holistic audio/visual approach toward explaining the situation. He set out to remedy that situation.

If you've got ten minutes for a cup of coffee, you've got ten minutes to watch and learn.