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Thursday 10 April 2014

Johnny Hopkins is photography Wonderwall

Southampton Solent University lecturer and former Oasis press officer, Johnny Hopkins, will exhibit artwork at the first dedicated exhibition to the Brit Pop music legends entitled ‘Chasing The Sun 1993-1997′.

Johnny was Oasis’ press officer from 1993 to 2000 supporting their monumental climb to fame resulting in multi-million selling albums and gigs at Knebworth and Loch Lomond.

In 2000, Johnny went on to set up his own publicity company with two friends and has since helped launch bands such as Kasabian, propelling them into global success.

The exhibition documents the inception of the band into the Brit Pop scene in the early nineties through to their emerging chart success with many rare fly-on-the-wall glimpses into their iconic attitude and backstage life.

Johnny’s work will join a plethora of vintage merchandise, memorabilia, album sleeves, unseen audio visual footage, and even instruments from the band members themselves.

Johnny’s featured photography is entitled Go And Get a Proper Job: The Calm Before The Storm and was taken at the Derby Wherehouse dressing room on 4 May 1994. Johnny explains to irony in the above title of the piece: “Musicians get told to do exactly this on a regular basis but Oasis went out and made their own jobs.

“The band worked hard playing 150-200 gigs a year in those first couple of years and did all the promotion I got them. There’s a lesson there – one that we impress upon our music students.

“For all the band’s reputation for wildness, they had a very strong work ethic. That work ethic combined with talent is what created their global success.”

Photo of Oasis taken by Johnny Hopkins at the Derby Wherehouse dressing room on 4 May 1994

Johnny, who joined the University as a lecturer in music promotion in 2012, reminisces: “The shot shows that even at the heart of a rock ’n’ roll maelstrom there’s a lot of sitting around waiting for something to happen. And happening it certainly was. At this point, less than a year on from Alan McGee first discovering them, their debut singleSupersonic was in the Top 40.”

The free exhibition opens on Friday 11 April at the Londonewcastle Project Space, 20 years to the day since the release of the band’s debut single Supersonic.

The exhibition will also feature work by professional photographer Tom Sheehan, who recently gave a talk at the annual Southampton Solent University SMILE music conference.

If you dream of making music history there’s still chance to apply for a degree course in Popular Music Journalism, Production or Performance at Solent University.