Film Set
Art Appreciation for Everybody—Kasaundra Bryant, “Rest”

Teresa Cochran | Artist to Artist | February 7, 2022

In our “Art Appreciation for Everybody” series, we consider ways to look closer at artworks we may not fully grasp at first. Today we begin a closer look at the music video Rest, and it is the first time we are evaluating an Engage Art video submission.

"Rest" by Kasaundra Bryant, a Music Video Finalist in the 2020 Engage Art Contest

As always, before we dive in, spend some time considering Kasaundra Bryant’s Rest, a Music Video Finalist in the 2020 Engage Art Contest

Ask some preliminary questions, like:

  • How was this created?
  • What does it remind me of?
  • How is it using color? Why?
  • Is this work more about thinking or more about feeling?
  • What does it make me think about or feel?
  • Can I discern a story, question, or idea in this artwork?
  • What are the elements of this video that stand out the most?

Successful music videos bring together several different art forms:

  • music composition performance, and production
  • videography & video editing
  • visual content that complements the song

Rest includes two additional art forms—storytelling and dance—as part of the visual content element. To understand this artwork better, we’ll examine the music, videography, and storytelling and take a look at the artists behind this work.

Music (composition, performance, production, lyrics)

A music video cannot be good unless the song it highlights is well done. Rest takes that requirement in stride. The piece is constructed and presented simply, but not simplistically—which we all know is difficult to do.


The listener knows they’re in good hands when they hear the precise, robust, and confident solo voice and the accomplished guitar technique. Percussion—both instrumental and clapping—layer onto and off of that engaging fingerpicking in a relaxed and natural way, preserving a final product where the technical aspects are invisible. This groove would be right at home in a live venue.

Why was Rest produced with just a few instruments?


While the instruments blend into an upbeat fabric of varying textures, the vocals maintain a clear hierarchy. Kasaundra’s soothing sound stands in the front with nothing to compete with her message and crystal-clear diction. Background vocals begin as emphasis but move into a clever conversation with the solo voice.­ The aesthetic choice to create such a direct performance feels comfortable and allows the lyrics to provide the power.

Since there are no other vocalists credited, I wonder if Kasaundra recorded the backup vocals herself? The background harmonies are tight in a way that evokes female background singers from a bygone era. It is not an accident that so many of those groups had “Sisters” or “Brothers” at the end of their names (Andrews, Lennon, Everly, Osmond, Jackson, etc.). I recently learned about a musical term called Sibling Harmony, a unique effect when people in the same family sing harmony blends. Supposedly, it happens because they have very similar facial structure, which is to the voice like the soundbox of a guitar or violin is to their music. The family resemblance in voice timbre and color can make magic! Now, we have the technology so an individual can sing harmonies with themselves—taking the idea of Sibling Harmony to a whole new level!

What impact does the solo vocal have on the music video? Would it be the same if she had a gravelly voice? Or if she were reaching for high notes just out of her range? Why were the lead vocals, harmonies, and instruments balanced in this way?


The lyrics of Rest invite us to listen in to an honest talk between a believer and God. There is a statement about our need to rely on God, our tendency to wander away, and our desire (not unfailing!) to be obedient, coming back to God when He calls us.

As you listen to the lyrics, what stands out to you? 

Videography (shooting, editing, and visual aesthetic choices)

The second area required for a music video to succeed is the quality and aesthetics of the videography. For this review, I am separating the videography from the content.

The Rest videography uses a clean, contemporary aesthetic with a timeless feel. I’d categorize this approach as Minimalism, where the artwork includes the simplest and fewest elements necessary. Here, the set is all white, shadows bring a new dimension, and the clothing is all neutrals that nearly blend into the background sometimes.

Though this video is shot in color, there is a sense that it is in black-and-white, with just a few items colorized. The color comes (spoiler!) in the last scene, God’s sky-blue socks, and satan’s red hat. Color is most notable for its absence, a striking visual choice and particularly interesting where all actors/dancers are people of color.

Why was this color scheme chosen? What advantages come with choosing such a spare set? What disadvantages?

The minimalist set and intermittent fuzziness around the edges place this story out of time and into a mist, dream-space, fairy tale, fable, or parable. The videography pushes this concept further by using visual distortion when depicting satan and the girl he is influencing.

In addition, there is a sense of magical spaciousness not actually possible on such a small stage set. The line of the vessels, sometimes visible on each side of the frame, provide an anchor, giving form and shape to what might otherwise read as a void.

How do the videographers make the stage set appear bigger than it is? Which visual techniques in Rest do you respond to most?

There were three other specific film and editing techniques I especially enjoyed in this film:

  • sometimes the video fast forwards for just a second during transitions.
  • the camera walks us around in the frozen scene
  • the blue/purple light when God and the boy are in communion.

Why did the videographer and directors choose to create an “everyman” in an “everyplace”? How successful do you find these visual tropes in telegraphing meaning?

Visuals that Complement the Song (Storytelling & Dance)

I understood how compelling this video was when I realized that I needed to close my eyes to really listen to the music. Otherwise, the storytelling and dance quickly sucked me in.


The video tells the story of God and satan influencing humans. It follows the progression of a couple, one who chooses to follow Christ and one who does not.

The video’s highly stylized structure and manner allude to eastern theatre forms like Kabuki and Noh and western folk theater like the Mummers, European mimes, or even Christmas pageants! The performance is decidedly contemporary, and the mixture of old and predictable with the new and fresh feels closer to performance art. We’ll get to the dancing in the next section.

What is stylized about the storytelling approach? Does it feel limiting or provide creative freedom?

This video both subverts and reinforces commonly held motifs and symbolism. Satan’s hat is red, following the longstanding protocol of the evil one being shown in red. He is angry, violent, ruthless, and dressed in black. The girl is dressed in darks and grays, and her clothing is “distressed”—fashionable, yes, but still ripped. As she becomes more connected to satan, she runs into more trouble and starts looking haggard. In contrast, God is in all white (except those blue socks, the color used for Mary in historical paintings), and the boy is in . . . mostly white, which makes sense symbolically.

The central subversion is that the God character is female. Does this choice add a maternal air to God? God is also the character who shows frustration—mainly at the main character taking so long to figure things out, coaxing him, bringing him back into the light, and throwing in some Mom looks along the way. God is also who we expect in many ways. She can keep her eye on all the balls at once, slow or stop time, shows joy and love for the boy, and is watchful and persistent without being pushy.

How do you feel when familiar characters are portrayed in unfamiliar ways?

The storytelling here is framed as a cautionary tale and told as a parable.  Kasaundra makes her thesis plain in her writing about this video, “Through Christ, we have strength, and it’s only by His power that we will be able to resist the spiritual forces of wickedness that come to destroy us. In Christ, we overcome because he is the sovereign God (Colossians 1:16-17).” The boy is the one most changed. He starts in a relationship with the girl, and he ends up in a relationship with God.

Movement and Dance

The dance is the most intriguing part of this music video for me. I particularly enjoy how Zuri Uso’s natural movements transform into a choreographed dance. It reminds me of devised theatre, but with movement as the mode of collaboration—is “devised dance” a thing?

Zuri is just a joy to watch! He is clearly in complete control of his energetic and elastic body. The dance duet between the boy and satan at the 45-second mark is my favorite dance moment. Satan is “pulling the strings” of the boy-as-marionette in a very imaginative way, moving quickly from literal to abstract, and all the time clearly a dance, both physically and metaphorically.

The climactic fight scene turns into choreography at 2:20 when God’s hand goes up. Her knee-jerk reaction to sensing her sheep has gone astray is to effortlessly slow satan to a crawl and then stop him completely to go find her wayward charge. Satan and the girl remain frozen while God and the boy reunite and exit.

What parts of the dance/movement do you most respond to?  Are the flowing or staccato moves more interesting to you?

In the final scene, blue and purple bathe God and the boy (royal colors?) and make their white clothing luminescent. They dance as mirror images of each other. When they are back-to-back, their bodies undulate as they lift their hands high, and the changing void between their bodies is beautiful, a movement that reminds me of breathing.

How do you interpret the parts where characters dance in unison?

The Artist

Kasaundra Bryant

Kasaundra lives and breathes the arts and ministry. She is clearly putting the aesthetics she learned as part of her degree in Architecture and Environmental Design to good use, if this video can be taken as an example of her work. Her ministry work is innovative, music-infused, and interested in breaking down barriers to the gospel for everyday people. A worship leader and pastor alongside her husband, she is also a graphic designer and the visionary behind the DrawN Outreach Collective/Evolve Kingdom Collective, a ministry “restoring the Kingdom of God from the inside out.”

We encourage you to learn more about Kasaundra’s music and ministry at her website, You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Kasaundra is the driving force for Rest, but she also pulled together a team to bring her vision to life most fully. The video is the product of a number of talented Creatives putting a carefully curated set of elements together to tell one complete story. Each part supports the others with minimal showboating and tremendous professionalism. The cohesiveness of the vision combined with the high and fairly even skill level on all aspects of this production create a truly successful, all-ages, worth-the-time music video.

Credits for Rest

Kasaundra Shields Bryant—Artist, Lyricist, Co-Director, Producer

Brandon Watts—Composer

Mansa Johnson (Mojo Shoots)—Co-Director, Videographer & Editor

Zuri Thorpe/Uso—Producer, Choreographer, Actor (boy), Lead Dancer

Terrance Smith—Producer

Courtney Scott (The New Normal Styling Company)—Costuming

Devin Bryant (D Bryant Photography Studios) — Photographer

Dennard Brown—Actor/dancer

Shamyra Rogers—Actor/dancer

Holly Broadus—Actor/dancer

What are the advantages and disadvantages of collaborating with a team in your creative work? Who would you want to collaborate with for your next artistic project? 

Which elements of Rest leave you with the greatest impact? How do the layers interact? What reflections arise for you as you engage with this music video—personally, spiritually, artistically? 

We hope you continue to make time to rest in God’s love and continue to Engage Culture, Engage Scripture, and Engage Art. 

If you enjoyed this closer look, be sure to browse more music videos in our Gallery, noticing how the music, videography, story and movement weave together in each one.

This is the fourth installment in our “Art Appreciation for Everybody” Series. We’ve also taken a closer look at:

About the author: Teresa Cochran has been involved in various arts since she was 3. As an adult, she has been immersed in visual, literary, and performing arts for decades, over time developing a professional focus on public art, public participation, public space planning, and facilitating juries to choose artists and art. She’s also mother to two artists and wife to another, a permaculturist, 4-H leader, practiced chef for special diets, and a proponent of arts-integrated, Montessori, and International Baccalaureate education. Teresa is the Contest and Content Director at Engage Art and has been with the Contest since its inception.

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