The mad genius behind Tumblr’s ‘The Same Picture of Dave Coulier Every Day’

When we see Tumblrs like The Same Picture of Dave Coulier Every Day—which, true to its name, posts the same image of the Full House and Fuller House star once dailywe laugh or share the link, quickly moving on to the next novelty. It’s rare that we see the person behind the blog, whoever it is putting time and dedication into this very niche, bizarre thing. 

It’s near impossible to explain the appeal of such a project to someone who doesn’t know how Tumblr functions. These blogs are disassembled into disjointed images on user dashboards, untethered to any one source or person. This series is dedicated to the people behind these blogs. 

Why? Because someone out there has been posting the same photo of a very vacant-looking Dave Coulier every day on his Tumblr for four years. His name is Aaron Littleton, an IT guy by day and comedian/roller derby announcer/writer by night. And we got him to spill everything. 

Tell me a bit about your history with Dave Coulier.

I have very little to no relationship with Dave Coulier. I, of course, watched Full House as a kid, but I don’t think I was particularly attracted to Mr. Coulier. The idea for the Tumblr came 100 percent from my head. It wasn’t built off anything else, it was basically “What if I post the same photo of Dave Coulier everyday because the photo is so innocuous?” 

The idea for the Tumblr came 100 percent from my head. It wasn’t built off anything else, it was basically “What if I post the same photo of Dave Coulier everyday because the photo is so innocuous?”

I did toy at first with the idea of John Stamos, but I decided he carried some amount of cultural baggage with him that Dave Coulier did not. I wanted the subject to be known but not known, someone who could just be a face. That’s really the only reason I chose Dave Coulier. He’s famous, but you make no real association with him other than “Oh, he was on Full House.”

The one thing I have learned many times since starting this Tumblr is that many people seem to think there is an Alanis Morissette song written about him. I actually don’t think that’s the case—I think at some point or another they both said that’s not the case—but a lot of people post on the blog wanting to explain that.

Did you start with the idea that you wanted this blog to not really be associated with your name?

I’ve tried to make myself as much of a non-presence as possible. I try to do an April Fools’ Day image every year just to let people know that there’s not just a script somewhere posting this picture; there’s a human being behind it. That’s really the only time of year that you see any of my personality on the blog.

I think my non-presence was a necessary part of what the art was going to be. I don’t really even want people to see Dave Coulier too strongly in the image. It’s just a worthless image that needed to be stripped of personality. 

I don’t really even want people to see Dave Coulier too strongly in the image. It’s just a worthless image that needed to be stripped of personality.

I’ve definitely used the blog to advertise other things that I’ve done online, if people care enough to look and say “Well, I’ve enjoyed this, let’s see what else this guy’s done.” But I do want to be divorced from the actual image.

Were you hoping to generate a certain reaction from people, or was it just something that made you laugh at first?

It catches you with a quick laugh at first. Before I tried to promote it anywhere, I made sure it had several weeks of history, because the comedy comes from saying: “Look, he really has posted this every day for several weeks.” I wanted people to laugh, but I also wanted to create something that’s unchangeable online, because it’s something that people can count on. If you need to count on something, you can count on the same picture of Dave Coulier every day.

I definitely don’t want to tell people how to look at the blog, or how to interpret the blog, because my initial reaction was just to laugh. I had the idea, and I laughed at it. I knew I had to do it. I knew I would learn along the way about what the project means to me, because it was this long, lengthy thing.

Another reason why I wanted to keep my personality out of it is because it’s more fun to imagine, Who is this person who cares so much about Dave Coulier? What people come up with in their imagination is going to be so much funnier than anything I could tell you to think of when looking at that image.

More recently, I’ve been a little more open on the blog with who I am, as I’ve used it to advertise an eBook I’ve written, along with other projects on Tumblr and elsewhere. If people care enough to find out who I am, I’m OK with that.

I think very few people visit the site directly unless they’re linked from an article. They usually just find the content on Tumblr. That’s really the way to interact with it in a long-form way; it’s just to have it on your feed and without navigating to it directly—without thinking about it—just have it come to you.

So it’s something to rely on in an otherwise erratic Tumblr feed.

I’ve had people leave comments that were legitimately moving to me to read. It’s not something I ever thought would touch anyone in a strong way. There was a girl who reblogged the image one day, a couple years into the project, and she had been following it. Her father had died, and during this very tumultuous time she found some amount of solace in this ongoing thing. Every day she could log in and see this image. 

There was a girl who reblogged the image one day, a couple years into the project, and she had been following it. Her father had died, and during this very tumultuous time she found some amount of solace in this ongoing thing. Every day she could log in and see this image. 

On one of her bedroom ceiling tiles, she painted that picture so she could lay in bed and see it. That’s something way beyond just a silly Internet thing.

How long have you had the blog, and do you have an idea of how long you’d like to continue it?

I believe the blog started in November 2011, so we’re coming up on four years of the blog running. I plan to keep it running as long as I can. I’ll do it till I die. The question is, what happens when Tumblr goes away, because it will—just like everything on the Internet. We’ll see when that time gets here what new technologies there are, or what the successor to the Internet will be.

Were you a big Tumblr user before this project, or was it just a good platform to execute something like this?

It was more of the latter. At the time, I had a Twitter account, but I didn’t really use it. There was a certain amount of social media out there that I wasn’t interacting with at all, though I suppose with this Tumblr I still don’t interact with the platform in the way that other people do. I was trying to think of projects that would be easily attainable with the technology that was out there, and how I could dip my toe into it a little bit.

I started another Tumblr called Openings In Hell that was a little bit more interactive. It was almost this Dada-esque idea of some personal hell you could have. It was never really torture; it was more being locked in a room with the movie Groundhog Day on a loop or something like that. I did that for 6 to 8 months, and it had maybe 700 or 800 followers, but I kind of lost interest in doing that a while back.

How do you explain this project to people in your day-to-day life who might not have the context for what Tumblr is?

I think most people that I would explain it to already have some kind of idea of what Tumblr is. My wife knows about it and thinks it’s a silly thing but is also a little bit proud of it. We were both art majors, so she’s appreciative of possibly my only real contribution to the art world, if it can be considered that.

My wife knows about it and thinks it’s a silly thing but is also a little bit proud of it. We were both art majors, so she’s appreciative of possibly my only real contribution to the art world, if it can be considered that.

I was interviewed by BBC News a couple months ago, and that was one of the more exciting things to explain to people. I let them sort of know what the Tumblr is, and most people don’t really ask any more questions. I perform improv comedy—I’ve done that for a long time—and I announce roller derby. I think for people in my life who wouldn’t understand it, it’s just another one of those silly things that Aaron does.

What’s your day job? How old are you? You know, all the basics.

I’m 32, and my day job is in IT for a local government. I take my job seriously, but it’s not what my passion is, it’s more doing these sorts of creative things. I perform improv with a troupe that’s been around for 20 years, though I’ve only been a part for about five years. We perform at least once a week, and we have other gigs where we’re paid to perform at a corporate event or something like that. I write articles occasionally for Knights of the Dinner Table, and I’ve got an eBook out. That sort of stuff is where my passion lies—being creative and being funny as much as I can.

Has the blog helped other aspects of what you do, as far as bringing awareness to your name?

I’m able to leverage the page to drive some traffic to other things if I want to. It’s just a nice thing to think that this idea I had has been received so well. It gives confidence to other projects I do because I can say I’ve had one thing work out really well. I can assume that maybe the place that idea spawned from can generate other good ideas. That keeps me writing, recording podcasts, those sorts of things, because I know that there’s at least one thing out there that people have enjoyed that I’ve done.

So you had this initial idea that made you laugh, but to keep doing it each day requires dedication. What keeps you appreciating the joke?

I enjoy it when people react to it. Maybe that’s a shallow way to think, but I really enjoy it when people like it, comment on it, reblog it. It’s a little pick-me-up in the middle of the day. Ultimately it’s gotten to the point where I feel like it’s an important labor for myself. When I upload the pictures, it feels like I’m doing a thing that society has reacted to and seems to want more of. It almost feels like a duty.

Ultimately it’s gotten to the point where I feel like it’s an important labor for myself. When I upload the pictures, it feels like I’m doing a thing that society has reacted to and seems to want more of. It almost feels like a duty.

I go through periods where I’m more or less interested in the blog, and those don’t always coincide with when other people are interested in it. It tends to go through cycles where I get interviews—it got featured on Ellen a while back—and it becomes more popular, then it sort of loses its novelty. It goes through cycles of popularity, and I go through cycles of interest, but I’ve never been so disinterested that I would let it stop.

Does Dave Coulier know about “The Same Picture Of Dave Coulier Every Day”?

I know for a fact he’s been asked about it in interviews. If I remember right, I read that he thinks it’s funny but doesn’t quite understand it, which means that he and I have the exact same view of the project. 

Photo via samepicofdavecoulier.tumblr.com