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IAN HUNDLEY

Interview by Michael Bullock

Portraits by Marcelo Krasilcic

BUTT 21, 2007

Ian and Marc Hundley are two of the kindest people in all of New York City. They are very social, extremely polite (which they blame on being Canadian), and they both love mushrooms. Ian and his brother Marc are identical twins, but their facial structures are clearly difffferent and friends can easily tell them apart. Ian hates to be defifined by his difffferences with Marc but doesn’t mind the similarities. Both are gay, both studied graphic design, both have tattoos of birds on their left arms. They moved to London together from Montreal, and then to New York City. Together they fell into a short-lived A-list modeling career (a 90s moment when twins were in demand). They share both an apartment and a studio in Brooklyn, as well as a log cabin outside of Montreal. Marc and Ian are both artists; Ian makes incredibly intricate patchwork quilts and Marc makes graphic paintings and prints. Just to be clear, this interview is with Ian, not Marc.

Do people ever approach you because they have sexual fantasies about twins?

A lot. When we were younger we always got it, like, ‘Wow, so you are both gay? Do people ever insinuate that you have sex with each other?’ And I would be like, ‘God, no, I am not that comfortable with how I look.’ Why would I go with someone pretty similar? Once when we were modeling we did a go-see with Mario Testino and his first question was, ‘Are you both gay?’ And we were like, ‘This is so not a relevant question – why are you asking?’ And he said, ‘If I had a twin brother I would...’ ...have sex with him all the time? Something along those lines. He thought that would be the best sex ever because he would know exactly what he wanted. He thought it would be perfect; I thought it was creepy. People don’t approach us like that much anymore though.

Are you competitive with Marc? In what? In your art? In your love lives? Careers? Everything?

Maybe we are a little competitive in everything, but in a healthy way. For instance, Marc makes a lot of work and if it’s something really great I get jealous. He made a lot more stuff than I did. It’s a healthy competition.

Do you like his work and vice versa?

He says he likes mine. We pretty much have similar taste. I usually like his work so much that I wish I had made it.A lot of things influence me in terms of my work, and if Marc makes something and I really like it, it’s hard not to absorb it, definitely. But it’s like trying to absorb the right aspect of it rather than just the aesthetic value. Otherwise my stuff would look exactly like his stuff.

Are your quilts for wall hangings or do you use them as quilts?

I would want to use them as quilts.

Does Marc have tattoos?

He has flowers here and a bird here.

And you have a bird too. Are they similar birds?

Yes, pretty similar.

So you guys don’t really mind looking alike?

We used to check with each other to see what we were wearing before we went out. 'You’re wearing a white T-shirt and jeans? Oh, I was going to wear a white T-shirt and jeans.’ So one would change ’cause we’d just get so sick of hearing how cute it is that we dress alike. After a while, that’s kind of draining.

Do you shop together?

Not really. I mean, yeah, Salvation Army.

When I first met you guys it was hard to figure out who was who. I have gotten better at it.

There is a big difference.

I’m sorry.

No, it’s okay, it happens all the time. I see people on the street all the time and they’re like, ‘Oh, how are you doing, that
was so fun the other night!’ Rather than going, ‘Oh, actually I’m Ian,’ sometimes I just don’t bother. If I stop and say, ‘I’m
Ian and you confused me with my brother Marc,’ then they get embarrassed. It can be uncomfortable. One of the biggest problems with being a twin is that you’re constantly getting compared: Who is faster? Who is taller? Who is smarter? Who is better looking? And it doesn’t matter because there is no comparison. Not really.

Literally, people ask, ‘Who is smarter?

Who is more creative?’ It’s so dumb. After a while, you don’t want to measure yourself like that. You don’t have to search for differences all the time, it’s ridiculous.

Do your parents get concerned that you have always lived together?

No one questions it. Well, I used to question it. Like, ‘When are we not going to live together?’ It only gets tricky when we are in relationships. Like my boyfriend, he used to live with us for a while. That was fine because we all got along and it was really easy.

Did you always know of each other that you were gay?

Ah, let’s see, no... I remember one night when we were in college, we’d gone out dancing until, like, four in the morning and then on the way home we saw someone up the way who we’d met before and he said, ‘Why don’t you come over and we’ll have drinks and bagels on the roof’ and stuff like that, so we did. And then he was, like, ‘Hey, if you want to crash here you’re totally welcome,’ and we were like, okay sure. And then he said, ‘I’m not going to sleep – I have to pack ’cause I’m leaving tomorrow so one of you can take my bedroom and one can take the living room. I was, like, ‘I’ll take the bedroom.’ Marc took the living room. And then the guy came in and turned the lights off and got in bed with me. I was so nervous.

You weren’t intrigued?

Yeah, I was also like, ‘Let’s see where this goes.’ This sounds so cheesy. We started kissing and stuff, but I was really uncomfortable, and I remember him telling me I was cute and that turned me so off. That was it.

Why did it turn you off?

It just creeped me out. And then a week later he came back to the city and he called me and asked if I wanted to hang out
more and I said, ‘Okay, sure.’ And that’s when I told Marc what had happened last time, that we kind of fooled around. And his mouth dropped. I’m sure he’d always guessed I was gay, but he just wasn’t sure.

Were you both relieved and happy?

Yeah, I guess so because he had those feelings too, so even that wasn’t going to be a difference between him and me.

So did that guy become your first boyfriend?

No, he was boring as hell. But then I met somebody that we both liked but that I ended up having a relationship with for years and years.

That’s as competitive as it gets?

Yes, it was really tricky.

How did you deal with that?

We didn’t really.

Have you ever had sex with someone Marc used to have sex with or vice versa?

No, never. I like to think of it as an unstated rule. It used to be more important – now I would be fine with it. But I do consider
it a rule. I never want to go where he has gone because, again, people compare twins, their performance, dick size, etc.

Do you have a boyfriend?

I do right now. Since a week or two or three. I went out with him, like, eight months ago and broke up with him, then realized I made a huge mistake!

What happened?

Things had gone too fast. We were immediately boyfriends after we met.

How did you meet?

Eh, at Sway on Sunday night. I don’t hook up with people that often but over the last two years I‘ve been more, like, if I want it I just do it. And that night I was determined to hook up with somebody. And he had just moved to the city. You know how someone new moves to the city and everybody pounces. I pounced first! He is half Brazilian and half Chinese and grew up mostly in Brazil.

Was it easy to win him back after you’d broken up?

No, it was hard work. He would say he was busy all the time. He was pissed and rightfully so.

Are you generally good at pouncing?

Well, I never go to gay bars, or if I do I never hook up at a gay bar. But I did pick up this guy at Sway a while ago who mistook me for Marc. I was wasted and he was wasted. He said, ‘Hey Marc, how are you?’ And I said, ‘I am Ian and we’ve hung out so many times before, don’t be an asshole.’ And then he was, like, ‘Sorry, if you’re not Marc I don’t know you.’ I mentioned his history and meeting his sister and he still couldn’t remember, so I said, ‘You know what? You are an asshole and therefore you are coming home with me.’ And it worked!

I’m curious to know if you’re a top.

Oh...I hate to say I am. I guess I’m versatile, but I prefer to be on top.

Sounds like you’re just trying to be democratic.

No, I hate labels and I do both – I have been a bottom, but I prefer to top.

And your boyfriend?

He would prefer to be a top too, but it’s not really an issue. It’s really about a physical comfort level. With my first boyfriend
I was strictly the bottom. And I really enjoyed it. And I can even avoid the whole thing and it’s fine. I had one boyfriend and we never did anything anal. I know that can sound dull or limiting but it wasn’t.

How long?

Four years.

Oh my God! Four years! Could you do it again?

I think I could. I mean I love sex, but if fucking is absent it doesn’t mean it’s not fun.

Was it his choice or your choice?

It just never came up. Maybe it was a chemistry thing. We barely even talked about it. We never thought, ‘When are we going anal?’ It just seemed to not get there and that was fine.

Do you see yourself splitting up with Marc at some point? Like, would you ever move to a different city without him?

I used to think about that in my early twenties, when I was in my first long-term relationship. We – me and my boyfriend
– would talk about the future and we would talk about moving and having kids. Plus, people would always ask, ‘Are you going to live with your brother forever?’ But now I don’t think about it anymore. We bought a piece of land together in Canada and we’ve built a log cabin on it. That is kind of a commitment...

That’s great. Where is the cabin?

It’s outside a town called South River, in Northern Ontario.

How do you get there from New York?

Oh, it takes a day – flying to Toronto and taking the train or car for another 3.5 hours north. We go for a month every summer.

Doing what?

Swimming, boating, cooking, making campfires, hiking, reading, entertaining visiting friends...

And you built the cabin yourselves?

Yeah. It’s two floors, the kitchen is downstairs and the top floor is for sleeping and hanging out, listening to music. It’s very rustic. It’s very enjoyable – kind of feels like a combination of psyche folk and fallen aristocracy...

That sounds amazing. Is it common for twins to have so much admiration for each other?

I don’t know. I mean, I know these twin girls that spend every minute with each other; I don’t think I know any identical twins that don’t have a close relationship. I know some other twins that live together and they have a business together and I love seeing them and they like us. They are what we call ‘Super Twins’. Like, you can be twins or you can be Super Twins, which means you live with each other, you have the same taste, you can practically read each other’s mind because you get along so well, and so they consider us Super Twins too.


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