Philadelphia-born Ayers enjoyed an international career. He received his BFA from the Philadelphia Museum School of Art (now the University of the Arts) in 1954 and traveled to Europe in the 1970s, where he felt the public was more receptive to his art. During his brief residence abroad, Ayers began to draw dream scenes, a genre that came to define his artistic style. After returning to Philadelphia, he taught art at Allens Lane Art Center and his alma mater, and joined the staff of the Free Library of Philadelphia. A master of many mediums—including pen and ink, watercolor, collage, and gouache—Ayers also continued to create his own figurative, often surrealist works.